By AMY GAREIS

News-Herald Staff Writer

CADIZ – Work along U.S. 250 is drawing ever closer to completion and could wrap up over the next weekend.

Jay Cole, transportation manager 3 for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 in New Philadelphia, led the News-Herald on a tour of the artery that is currently under construction. A $4.3 million upgrade is underway along 2.4 miles of the road between Mizer and Milliken roads and caused motorists to be rerouted along a 10-mile detour while the revamping continues. According to Cole, the wait may not last much longer.

“I expect it to be open on Oct. 22,” Cole said, adding the public would be notified of the exact date. “We’ve got a couple rain days but we’re still shooting for the 22nd at this point.”

Crews have already placed the main portion and were wrapping up shoulder work on Wednesday. Cole added that safety markings and related work were next and hopefully the weather would remain cooperative to complete the finishing touches.

“It’s going to look a lot different. We’re very fortunate [that we’ve had good weather]. I’m extremely pleased with the way everything’s worked out. It will be a nice, wide piece of roadway.”

Cole continued that the improvements have also stayed within budget. ODOT officials previously said the road could be re-opened by Nov. 1 since crews were meeting the schedule.

Sheriff’s officials and the Ohio Highway Patrol have been busy redirecting dozens of drivers after their GPS units led them through the work zone. Trooper Joe Parsons (pictured) of the Wintersville OHP detachment rerouted two vehicles alone in this reporter’s presence. Law enforcement stepped up patrols to crack down on the problem, which could result in a $165 fine.

“I’ve stopped six or seven [on Wednesday],” Parsons said, adding that he’s handled dozens of incidents over six days on duty. “It’s busy, that’s for sure.”

He added that the OHP spends 24 hours at the barricades and most of the drivers were out-of-towners who were lost and needed directions. The work area has been maintained for safety forces and ODOT has kept in contact with law enforcement and emergency crews, while passes were given to residents living inside the work zone. People using the route without permission will be prosecuted for trespassing.

More details can be found in this weeks print edition of the Harrison News-Herald.